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World Hand Hygiene Day: Save Lives – Always Clean Your Hands

Thursday 2 May 2019
It’s World Hand Hygiene Day on Sunday 5 May and Southern DHB is encouraging healthcare staff and members of the public to help save lives by always cleaning their hands.

“Hand hygiene isn’t just important in the hospital. It helps stop the spread of germs at home, at school and in the workplace. Effective hand washing and drying is the best way to reduce infections,” says Southern DHB Infection, Prevention and Control Charge Nurse Manager, Jo Stodart.

Throughout next week, the DHB’s Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) team will be raising awareness of good personal hand hygiene. There will be displays at Dunedin and Southland Hospital explaining the importance of handwashing, as well as messages on the staff intranet, Southern DHBs Facebook page, and on the TV screens in Dunedin Hospital.

At Dunedin Hospital Staff and the public will be able to see how many germs are really on their hands, using glo-germ gel, which highlights any dirt or bacteria under a UV light before and after washing their hands. They may be surprised to learn their hands are not as clean as they thought!

“We’re encouraging all our healthcare workers to use World Hand Hygiene Day as an opportunity to refresh their hand hygiene knowledge and re-pledge to make it a priority. Hand hygiene represents one of the most important measures in the fight against healthcare associated infections, making it a key patient safety issue,” says Southern DHB Quality & Risk Manager, Tina Gilbertson.

Figures reported by the Health Safety and Quality Commission show that Southern DHB has achieved or exceeded the target of 80 percent hand hygiene compliance in the Hand Hygiene New Zealand (HHNZ) audit since 2015. The figures reflect our ongoing dedication and commitment to the welfare of patients and the public.

“Our message is to wash your hands often and in the correct way, and encourage everyone around you to do the same. We also encourage patients and whānau to ask their health care worker to clean their hands - it’s their right.”

How to Clean Your Hands
Using soap and water
1. Wet hands using warm water
2. Add soap to make lather
3. Rub palms, back of hands, and between fingers
4. Rub for at least 15 seconds
5. Rinse hands and dry well

When to wash our hands

We should wash our hands regularly each day, particularly:
• Before eating or touching food
• After using the toilet
• After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
• After touching animals
• After handling rubbish
• After changing a nappy
• Before and after touching a sick or injured person

Five moments of hand hygiene

The World Health Organisation’s five moments for hand hygiene approach requires hand hygiene to be completed at the following times, irrespective of whether or not gloves are used:

• Before patient contact
• Before a procedure
• After a procedure or body fluid exposure risk
• After patient contact
• After contact with patient surroundings

About World Hand Hygiene Day

World Hand Hygiene Day highlights the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare and this year’s theme is: Clean care for all – it's in your hands.


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